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The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) Regulations 2000

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Regulation 4


1.  All cages must comply with the following requirements–

(a)the cage area, measured in a horizontal plane, for each laying hen must not be less than–

(i)1000 cm2 where one hen is kept in the cage;

(ii)750 cm2 where two hens are kept in the cage;

(iii)550 cm2 where three hens are kept in the cage, and

(iv)450 cm2 where four or more hens are kept in the cage;

(b)the minimum cage area for each laying hen must be capable of being used without restriction and may include the area where the non-waste deflection plate (otherwise known as the egg guard) is placed so long as that area is capable of being so used;

(c)a feed trough of a length not less than 10 cm multiplied by the number of hens in the cage and capable of being used without restriction must be provided;

(d)except where nipple drinkers and drinking cups are provided, the cage must have a continuous drinking channel which shall not be less than 10 cm multiplied by the number of hens in the cage, and capable of being used without restriction;

(e)where drinking points are plumbed in, there must be a minimum of two nipple drinkers or two drinking cups within reach of the cage;

(f)the height of the cage, for 65% of its area, must not be less than 40 cm, and, for the remainder of the area, must not be less than 35 cm (the height being obtained by a vertical line from the floor to the nearest point in the roof and the area being obtained by multiplying 450 cm2 by the number of birds kept in the cage);

(g)the floor of the cage must be constructed so as to support adequately each of the forward facing claws of each foot; and

(h)the slope of the floor must not exceed 14% or 8 degrees, when made of rectangular wire mesh, and 21.3% or 12 degrees for other types of floor.

2.  Battery cages must be designed, constructed and maintained in such a way as to prevent any injury or unnecessary suffering to laying hens to the extent possible in the existing state of technology.

3.  The design and size of the cage opening must be such that laying hens can be put in or taken out without causing injury or unnecessary suffering.

4.  The cages must be suitably equipped and maintained to prevent escape.

5.  Except in the case of therapeutic or prophylactic treatment, all laying hens must have access to adequate, nutritious and hygienic feed each day in sufficient quantity to maintain them in good health and to satisfy their nutritional needs, and to adequate fresh drinking water at all times.

6.  The laying hens must be cared for by personnel with adequate knowledge and experience of the production system used.

7.  The flock or group of laying hens must be inspected thoroughly at least once a day and a source of light (whether fixed or portable) must be available which is strong enough for each bird to be seen clearly.

8.  Accommodation comprising more than three tiers of cages must not be used unless suitable devices or measures make it possible to inspect thoroughly all tiers without difficulty.

9.  When laying hens do not appear to be in good health or show behavioural changes, steps must be taken to establish the cause and appropriate remedial action must be taken e.g. treatment, isolation, culling or correction of environmental factors. If the cause is traced to an environmental factor in the production unit which it is not essential to remedy immediately, remedial action must be taken as soon as practicable and in any event when the accommodation is next emptied and before the next batch of laying hens is put in.

10.  Every time all the cages housed together are emptied they must be thoroughly cleansed and disinfected before the next batch of laying hens is put in. While the cages are occupied, the surfaces and all equipment must be kept satisfactorily clean.

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